12.18.08 Personal

Memories, of the Christmas Kind

hen I think of Christmases past, I remember only the best moments. Experiences that made me appreciate the true reason of Christmas and feel fortunate to live the life I am. Here are few memories of my favorite Christmases...

1986: My twin sister broke her arm while playing in a city park. The city gave my parents money to avoid legal issues. My parents bought us new bikes with big, red bows. I never owned anything so beautiful in my life.

1988: My father worked two jobs to make ends-meet. But times were extraordinarily tough. Two days before Christmas, our doorbell rang. My family found an anonymous donation of wrapped gifts and bags of groceries to make Christmas dinner.

1989: Times were still tough. Bills had to be paid before gifts were purchased. Our church gathered gifts to donate to children in Mexico and my father was in charge of distribution. Our family packed our semi-working Volkswagon van to the brim with new toys and drove to Tijuana, Mexico to give gifts to orphan children. Mobs of children swarmed our van and stuck their sticky hands through the windows for gifts. We felt like the luckiest people to be alive.

1992: Stuffing my little brother into a stocking and taking pictures of him amongst my stuffed animals. He STILL hasn't forgiven me.

1994: My family moved. Our house was pretty empty, but I was given brand new sunflower bedspread. And a bottle of Armani Aqua d'Gio perfume. That was a day when I felt like true royalty. Don't ask me why, I just did.

1997: My first Christmas with JD. He bought me a teddy bear, a ticket to Disneyland, and the new Boyz II Men CD. I bought him a pair of white jeans, a new pager, and M&M's. Oh, Internet, cut me some was the 90's!!!

2000: Our first Christmas with a bald mom. Cancer brought us even tighter during the holiday season. St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton chose our family to be recipients of their Adopt-A-Family charity, and we received so many gifts and well-wishes from doctors and nurses. Their support renewed our hope mom would make it through.

2002: I was working as a manager at Nordstrom South Coast Plaza on Christmas Eve. I swore to myself I'd never be forced to work on a holiday ever again.

2005: My first Christmas as a wife. Trying to be a domestic goddess, I bought every Christmas decoration available at a discount store near my house. JD said our living room looked like Las Vegas and The North Pole got into a fight. And I was all, But doesn't it look AMAZING?! He almost wore sunglasses that night as we decorated the tree.

2008: I don't know what's in store, but I do know one thing: I am happy. I honestly don't want a single gift this year because I have everything that truly matters. A healthy family, a hopeful future, an amazing husband, fabulous friends, and the world's most adorable dog. I couldn't ask for more.

Special thanks to my good friend, Rita for sending me this gingerbread house. When my mom asks me to clean the dishes after our Christmas morning breakfast, I'm going to say NO. Why? Oh, because, MY NAME IS WRITTEN IN ICING. And I'm sure that makes me famous in some parts of the world. Just Google it.
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Robin Dini - LOVE the gingerbread house! How sweet! white jeans...come on?!  12.31.08 - 8:53pm
Clemens - Hi Jasmine!Love the that you shared them with us.... Dan and I are never going to forget this Christmas...we just found out that we are going to be parents....I guess I'm going to have to "prepone" our trip to CA because we are due in August and taking anniversary photos with a big belly - won't look that good... :-) I hope you can keep helping couples build their memories thru your photos.  12.22.08 - 11:14am
Jessica Lynn - Jasmine, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your {beautiful} work as well as snippets of and from your life. I admire you and your work so I hope that the new year brings you nothing but happiness, more lovely clients and many many more blog posts!  12.22.08 - 6:48am
Shannon - Where do you do take all your wonderful personal story photographs (lens, polo, gingerbread house, etc...)??? I love them!  12.20.08 - 9:48pm
Rachel LaCour Niesen - Our adorable gingerbread house showed up on Friday and has been adorning our console table with quirky joy. Gotta love Rita's creative soul :)  12.20.08 - 9:46pm
Jennifer - I admire your phenomenal photography skills and your work but I read your blog because you've got a good soul. Just thought I'd come out of lurkdom to tell you that you're awesome. Merry Christmas!  12.20.08 - 6:14pm
zobo - j i love this post its really good but it sucks when you have 1992 and you say something about sebby but when it comes to 1994 you dont even mention me. BOOOO your mean!! but i still love you cause your ganna buy me the best christas gift everrrr. haha J/k i luv you. ( : < 3 zobo  12.20.08 - 12:51pm
Heather - I seriously got the chills !!! That is why you are so blessed.  12.20.08 - 8:54am
melissa pearce - Hey Jasmine! My grandparents both spent time at St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton-- the staff was wonderful there. The last Christmas with my Grandma before she passed away was spent in a large rec room there -- we have a large family, and since my grandmother had to be there following a stroke, they didn't mind that like 75 of us showed up on Christmas eve!   12.19.08 - 5:52pm
Melissa - Great post Jasmine! I didn't know you were a twin! I have twin boys myself! I love it! Happy holidays!  12.19.08 - 5:18pm
kilipohi - Good luck in getting out of the dishes! My dad would just give me the "stink eye" and I would be getting up and doing them.  12.19.08 - 4:12pm
Lydia - What a perfect little gingerbread house! Thanks for sharing such sweet memories with us! Aren't we so blessed?  12.19.08 - 2:39pm
Christine Vantol - Wow Jasmine, Thanks for being so real and sharing such intimate parts of your life with all of us :) I don't know if it's because I'm prego or what...but this one really teared me up ~ Merry Christmas from the Vantols :)  12.19.08 - 2:15pm
Jolene Tetangco - This gave me a lump in my throat. Maybe because I can relate to a lot of it. Beautifully written...  12.19.08 - 2:09pm
A.W. - I cry at almost every post your write, but this one made me cry the hardest...not sure why...maybe 'cause sharing your past makes you that much more real....  12.19.08 - 1:26pm
ohana photographers - david & kimi - just slobbered all over my screen. ooo must see the las vegas/north pole bout! hope you have a blessed and awesome christmas jas!  12.19.08 - 1:19pm
Fishgirl! - Awesome, you should write the chronicles of Jasmine+!!! Merry Christmas to you and your love ones!!  12.19.08 - 1:13pm
toni - I love your name in ICING! What a sweet gift. Love reading your blog Jasmine. Merry Christmas.  12.19.08 - 1:02pm
B - Since that money was legally mine, you owe me a bike :) Hahahaha! I almost cried remember the Christmases you mentioned. I love you.  12.19.08 - 12:56pm
Jeanette Sanchez - Thanks for sharing so much of who you are and where you've come from. Merry Christmas to you, JD, and Polo!  12.19.08 - 11:56am
mella - liar! i happen to know that you want a blender. lovely post though :o) i miss you and can't wait for our annual thingamajig. also, i used to live in norwalk ;o) ha! xoxoxo   12.19.08 - 11:39am
katycoffey - Thank you so much for sharing - what beautiful memories!  12.19.08 - 11:00am
Adrienne Byrd - What a sweet post :). I love hearing people excited to celebrate the things that really matter this time of year: family, health, blessings and love! Your posts are always so inspirational! I agree with (Beth from Canada) - even though I have been sitting in my gloomy office all day, I can feel the sunshine! :) Merry Christmas!  12.19.08 - 10:47am
Kelly | Purple Lemon Designs - Love the run down of "Jasmine's Christmas through the Ages." Very sweet post!  12.19.08 - 10:39am
courtney - You're a twin too?! COOL! Are you identical? Merry Christmas Jasmine and Family! Hope the Holidays bring you nothing but joy and happiness. :)  12.19.08 - 10:23am
Ashley Rose - I feel the same way about 2008, I dont want anything, I already feel so blessed. :) Love the gingerbread house!!!! Too cute to eat :)  12.19.08 - 9:49am
Beth - Jasmine, i love you. You are so full of life and I love reading your blog and getting to know you - miles away haha! I always am so jealous of you having no snow while here in Canada we are stuck in a blizzard, and pretty much every time i read your blog i can feel sunshine! Merry Christmas J*  12.19.08 - 9:32am
Angelica - LOVED this post.......Merry Christmas to you and yours!!  12.19.08 - 8:58am
Alicia - Please post photos of JD in white jeans!   12.19.08 - 8:48am
Korey - "Oh, because, MY NAME IS WRITTEN IN ICING. And I'm sure that makes me famous in some parts of the world. Just Google it." Still laughing...  12.19.08 - 8:43am
Anne Nunn Photography - It sounds like you had wonderful parents. I often hear of parents who teach their kids to make the most of everything they have. I think this is the most valuable lessen we can be taught as children. I know your parents are so proud of the caring and Godly woman you have become.   12.19.08 - 7:57am
Jeni - My first Christmas as a wife, I went beserk as well and bought so many decorations. At the time, I thought, "this sucks that they don't mean anything really" 7 years later though, I was nostalgic putting out all the decorations and thankful for the trip down memory lane. :)  12.19.08 - 7:37am
imthiaz houseman - great story!  12.19.08 - 7:35am
jeramy - your name in icing DOES make you famous. i'm just saying.... and white jeans....oh, my! seriously, the best thing we can do this time of year is serve other people. your story of your family in 1989 is fantastic. it made my day when my son told me the other day that he wanted to "put together a package for the people around town that don't have a house. especially the guy that hangs out in front of target." it really does put things into perspective. merry christmas to you both!  12.19.08 - 7:00am
Casey Graham - Oh Jas! I am sitting here crying in my cubicle. These are awesome. I love that your memory is like a camcorder. Every post is like a home movie-esque glimpse into your life :0) Hope that what ever comes your way on 12/25/08 is grand enough to make the 2009 list. Cheers!  12.19.08 - 6:53am
Candace Prokopets - I love sharing memories especially Christmas. It is awesome to see the Lord's blessings through your Christmas memories. Thanks for sharing. And that house is adorable!  12.19.08 - 6:43am
Bobbie Brown - Ohhh, such good memories! I laughed out loud at the 'white jeans' though!! hahah! Merry Christmas to you and yours.  12.19.08 - 6:06am
michelle cunningham - i'm going out to buy icing and writing my name on every plate in the house.  12.19.08 - 5:04am
erica - i love this post. it really makes me smile  12.19.08 - 4:58am
john waire - what a cool gingerbread house! merry xmas and happy new year to you & jd....from baltimore.  12.19.08 - 3:13am
FUNKE O - What a lovely trip back memory lane.. thanx for sharing... wishing you and ur family a Merry Xmas and more to come in 2009. P.s I'm getting the best xmas present this year..... i'm becoming an aunty FINALLY!!!  12.19.08 - 2:26am
Melli - If I wasn't in the Christmas spirit already, I would be after reading your post. Thanks for posting your Christmas memories.  12.19.08 - 12:46am
Bree - That really is an amazing AMAZING gingerbread house!! Also, thanks for sharing your stories and memories. :) Merry Christmas!  12.18.08 - 10:53pm
natt - Jasmine, would you happen to have a photo of JD in those white jeans? =) Happy holidays!  12.18.08 - 9:41pm
Erik Miguel - I want a gingerbread house.   12.18.08 - 9:32pm
Lisa Llarena - I'm getting myself a cake for Christmas with my name in icing then. Anything to get out of doing dishes. ;) Happy holidays to you and your family, Jasmine. I always love reading your posts and this one is no exception.  12.18.08 - 8:45pm
Keri Doolittle - Merry Christmas J Star, you are truly an inspiration to so many of us. Cute Gingerbread house, too!  12.18.08 - 8:43pm
Laura - 1989: My big brother spilled the beans and told me what I was getting for Christmas. Oh goosebumps.... a Pink Barbie Corvette Powerwheel. Christmas morning rolls around, and no new wheels, for me. Barbie however was looking pretty sharp in her new pink Corvette. I vowed never to believe a word that came out of his mouth again! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!!  12.18.08 - 8:29pm
Matthew Saville - :-) Good times. Come on down to happy hour on Monday? =Matt=  12.18.08 - 8:27pm
Feuza - You have a twin? had no idea!. You just bought all the warm fuzzy feelings and watery eyes again. Christmas has always been nostalgic and um we do not have a single present under the tree and I am loosing my home but I am still very thankful and feel so blessed to have found my new passion and to have a healthy beautiful family.  12.18.08 - 8:14pm
Becka Knight (Studio222 Photography) - That was beautiful. Maybe one year my name will be in icing as well because I HATE doing the dishes.   12.18.08 - 7:55pm
Carrie V. - That was simply lovely...thanks for sharing  12.18.08 - 7:43pm
Simply Modern Weddings - Very sweet Christmas flashbacks, especially the one of you and your family donating the gifts for the kids in Mexico. very touching!  12.18.08 - 7:38pm
sherry boles - The gingerbread house is too cute! Merry Christmas to you and your family!! :)  12.18.08 - 7:22pm
bobbi+ - one of my favorite ever J* posts.... Merry Christmas to you!  12.18.08 - 7:03pm
Tira J - Thank you Jasmine, for once again helping me remember all of the wonderful times that came out of the bad times.   12.18.08 - 6:53pm
Alan Nielsen - I love the shamless self promotion on the Gingerbread house!!  12.18.08 - 6:01pm
Ashley - My family also had a semi-working volkswagon van and it was orange. In fact, I think my dad still has it but it's a different color. I love that you listed all your memories and not just the perfect ones or the ones with the best gifts. This why I stalk your blog on a daily basis.   12.18.08 - 6:00pm
Liza - I am lovin' that Gingerbread House! Somebody got some skills! Also I have to point out I almost died of laughter and dropped my laptop after reading 'Las Vegas and the North Pole got into a fight'. That is so hilarious. Probably because I can so picture something like that. Thanks for giving me a good laugh, I'm snowed in and freezing!  12.18.08 - 5:56pm
Diandra - Jasmine that made me laugh and cry. And it wasn't even that long of a post! I got really choked up when I read the Christmas about taking toys to the kids in Mexico. That has been one of the most life changing experiences for me ever! And I love that even through hardships, your family has maintained it's closeness and faith. Thanks for your post.  12.18.08 - 5:49pm
Chung Nguyen - Erm, Polo is adorable, but my dog Fi is the cutest! (Fightin' words, I know....) hehe  12.18.08 - 5:47pm
SJ Styles - Great Post!  12.18.08 - 5:46pm
Katherine Bowman - Thanks for sharing with all of us, those are special times! You really have a good memory too! :)  12.18.08 - 5:30pm
Mary Marantz - LOVE this post!! I hear you so much!  12.18.08 - 5:02pm
Cristen Clark - That is so great! I want my name in icing...:)  12.18.08 - 5:01pm
Gabriel - This is my first Christmas as a husband, and my wife went NUTS buying Christmas decorations!! So, I think we're set for about 10 more Christmas!!!  12.18.08 - 4:42pm
Kim - Happy Holidays to you and your family!! Ok I want a piece of that ginerbread house. :)  12.18.08 - 4:24pm
Tracy Grant - Cutest Gingerbread house! Love it.  12.18.08 - 4:13pm
mary beth graff - pefectly writen and perfect image to go along. you are an amazing writer jasmine. happy holidays to you and your family.  12.18.08 - 4:09pm